January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JOHN STERLING ; 3 January 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420103-TC-JOST-01; CL 14: 5-6


Chelsea, 3 jany, 1842—

My dear Sterling,

A happy new-year to you also;—and thanks withal for your many kindnesses to me! I am not worthy of you; yet I have you. Let us be thankful, let us be hopeful, and stand tightly to our work. Ay de mi, I wonder how people can ring bells at this season: I could rather chaunt Litanies; or go, like the Chinese, to “the grave of my Fathers,” and sit silent there. God is great, and man is little and mean, and a fool! Coeur-de-lion shall be deposited duly where you have bidden.1 Cardalion,2O tempora, O mores,3—is a hero of Shakspeare's Parson Hughes!4

The Westminster-Review Article “on the Corn-Laws” is but a Newspaper puff;5 which may the Devil reward. I did write a very insignificant Article, and publish it in that carrion of a Review; but it is an Article on Baillie the Scotch Covernanter's Letters and Journals, and has nothing to do with any Corn-Laws; one paragraph only the wretched Editor I suppose has clipt out, and sent circulating thro' the Newspapers. After all, be it so! I do not know but the Divine Right of Squires may actually come to require treatment by me;6 it is one of the most portentous and momentous questions struggling into articulation in these days.

The Article has nothing in it to attract you, except perhaps an Extract about Strafford's Trial, which is really notable; which I meant to tell you of, ever since the Book came into my hands, three months ago: nay for longer ago than that; for I have known the old edition of the Book this great while; but I always hesitated to mention it to you, lest the impossibility of getting it (for such there was) might only vex you. David Laing of Edinburgh, the new Editor, is a skilful man, and has more than once obliged me. I wrote this Article partly for his sake, partly to bring my own hand in.— If you now think Baillie worth carrying to Falmouth, I can right willingly set him under way; the Book is my own, and I have no immediate need of it. Would to Heaven I had!—

Does John Mill ever write to you? It is something like four months since I last saw him, and then in his own house one evening,—very busy with a Book on Logic.

This paper is made of plaster of Paris; wherefore I am forced to write on it with a steel pen; altogether afflicting to me. Sit finis [Let there be an end].

May this year be better for us than the last was. May we shew ourselves better; truer, braver, humbler: that is the right good!

My Wife, stepping in at this moment, sends you many kind salutations. Good be with you always, my dear Friend.

Yours affectionately /

T. Carlyle

I have got an admirable Portrait of Milton by Cooper; far the best face of him ever drawn. Molteno sells it in Pall Mall for 5/- Sir J. Reynolds got it engraved about 50 years ago, and successfully defended its authenticity.7